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Iraq’s otherwise resilient oil sector suffered a double blow this week. Islamic State (IS) fighters launched what appears to have been a devastating attack against the Baiji refinery, Iraq’s largest, seizing control of most, if not all, of the sprawling facility in central Iraq, if a videotape of the battle released by the Jihadist group is to be believed. Shell, meanwhile, says it has pushed back full development plans for the Majnoun oil field to 2017 or beyond, suggesting that further growth in Iraqi production will come much later than expected.
IS began an assault on Baiji on 29 April, pounding the refinery with mortars, rockets and rocket-propelled grenades, as it made yet another concerted effort to capture the 360,000 b/d refinery, which has been in the Jihadists’ sights since their June 2014 incursion into northwestern and western Iraq.
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